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The first actions of the Lula government must begin to fulfill the campaign promises

By Resistência-PSOL, translated from portuguese by Daniel Kraucher
Lula no fundo eleições
Ricardo Stuckert

Despite the immense achievement that Lula’s victory meant, we must not overlook the fact that Bolsonarism managed to win almost half of the Brazilian population for its candidacy, in addition to a majority of parliamentarians in Congress and an important amount of governors and state deputies ( in addition to the size it already had among mayors). Important representatives of fascism, such as Nikolas Ferreira and Hamilton Mourão, have already declared what their attitude will be during the next four years of Lula’s government: intransigent opposition, “not letting anything pass”, in their own words. This means that the Lula government, in order to have any political viability, needs to expand its social base, removing from fascism the support it has today among the middle classes and an important part of the workers. It is necessary to change the correlation of forces in society so that it becomes not possible for the fascist opposition to make the government impracticable, let alone to overthrow it (which will be their strategic goal from day one). In this context, comes the discussion about the proposal of Transition Constitutional Amendment and the first concrete actions of the future government.

The “invisible hand of the market” has already started to react to the Amendment Proposal, criticizing the hole in the spending ceiling and the introduction of new social investments in the 2023 budget via the Constitution. For the market, especially the financial market, the Proposal is bad because one of the possible solutions to finance the new expenses would be the taxation of profits and dividends, which scares the hell out of Faria Lima [refers to Faria Lima Avenue, an important commercial and financial center in São Paulo. t/n].

For the new Lula government, however, the adoption of progressive social measures, starting on day 1, is a matter of life or death. From the very start, it is necessary to fulfill the most important promises made during the second round and which helped Lula to obtain victory.

The continuity of Auxílio Brasil (or Bolsa Família) [Family Support Grant Program] of R$ 600 with an addition of R$ 150 per child up to 6 years old vaccinated and in school would greatly help to expand the government’s support base, demonstrating to the poorest people that Lula is serious in his intention to liquidate the social barbarism that the country lives. Furthermore, it is an absolutely essential measure for the lives of more than 33 million people who are hungry today in Brazil.

The income tax exemption for salaries of up to R$5,000 would allow the new government to advance in an important part of the middle class, which mostly supported fascism in the last elections. This contingent also includes the most qualified workers in the heaviest and most important branches of industry and services, often considered “opinion leaders”. Winning this sector for a new country project would be an important step in stabilizing the new government. Moreover, it is a fact that the middle class has been penalized in recent decades and has had to pay to a large extent for the redistribution of wealth, even in the former PT governments, while the most privileged sections of the population have not had their earnings affected at all.

A new environmental policy, with a zero deforestation strategy and the recovery of degraded areas, would shine a new light on Brazil’s projection in the international arena, radically different from the image of an international pariah that we have assumed in the last four years. But not only that. The defense of the environment is also the defense of people, especially traditional populations whose way of life was affected by the environmental devastation promoted by fascism. The climate urgency demands this to be one of the first measures of the new government.

To restart the policy of real increase [above inflation] of the minimum wage. This would set the debate about the defense of the government among the most exploited sectors of the working class, the main basis responsible for Lula’s victory. The return of the policy of real increase would also be an important engine for the economic development, which would allow the government to invest and act in other decisive areas, such as health, education, housing, transport and security.

In addition to fulfilling social promises, political measures also need to be taken, aiming mainly to start the “debolsonarization” of the Brazilian State. The annulment of the 100-year secrecy decreed by Bolsonaro for his government documents must happen on the first day of Lula’s term, as promised in the campaign, but it would be just the first step in a series of necessary measures aimed at democratizing the state. It is necessary to show to the Brazilian people and to the world the atrocities carried out by the current government. And if the end of the secrecy reveals any crimes by Bolsonarists, these crimes need to be investigated and those responsible must be punished.

From whatever angle we look at it, it is evident that Lula’s fundamental alliance must be with the poor and peripheral people who elected him. This people are also the only social force capable of definitively defeating fascism, as long as they learn how to conquer hegemony over society as a whole. But for that, the Lula government must demonstrate it’s purpose, who it represents and where it wants to go. All of this starts with the government’s first actions.

The alliance of the left and social movements that was decisive in achieving Lula’s victory must call up the working class and popular sectors to maintain a permanent alert state against coup actions, to guarantee the inauguration on January 1st as well as the conditions to implement the first measures announced and all the proposals expressed in the campaign. Our central task is the mobilization in the streets, factories, universities and territories, defending the future government from fascist attacks and fighting in defense of the demands of the popular majorities.